Giovanni was born under the name of Yolande Cornelia Giovanni Jr. on June 7, 1943, in Knoxville Tennessee. Soon after she was born her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio were she lived all her childhood. In 1957, she made the decision to move back to Knoxville, with her grandparents. There she attended Austin High School. She graduated early and enrolled at Fisk University, in Nashville, as and.